In life, how many times have you heard the term “never say never”? I am sure that it is more times than you can probably count! When it came to the Ultimate Warrior, I was one of the ones who were saying never. Unless you don’t reside in this wrestling timeline, you know that Vince McMahon and the Ultimate Warrior have been less than cordial when it came to one another. Vince McMahon even had a DVD called “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” that was produced making the Ultimate Warrior out to be some kind of face painted boogeyman. That whole DVD had the Ultimate Warrior looking like some flash in the pan maniac, but also made most of us laugh at the same time while traveling down memory lane remembering his crazy promos and goofy feuds.
The parade of Warrior bashing included men such as Triple H, Vince McMahon, Gene Okerlund, Ric Flair, Bobby Heenan, Jerry Lawler, Ted DiBiase, Jim Ross, and of course Hulk Hogan. I could be leaving some names out, but I don’t have time to pop the damn DVD in. Their stories made the Warrior come off as hard to work with, egocentric, and a complete douche-bag. After seeing all of this, I was sure that the burned bridge would never be prepared between Vince McMahon and the Ultimate Warrior.
17 years later, I was proven wrong. The Ultimate Warrior is back on good terms with Vince McMahon, and he is even going to be a downloadable character in the WWE 2K14 video game which will introduce him to a whole new generation of fans who know nothing about his conservative rants on his website or his thoughts on destrucity, they will just know him as a legend in the business. He even did an interview with WWE.com, where he gave Vince McMahon props for being such a great businessman and making the WWE the most successful wrestling (sports entertainment for you fanboys) promotion of all time. Finally the Ultimate Warrior is going to get props for being one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, and this will probably result in even more DVDs and a WWE Hall of Fame induction. Make no mistake about it, induction the Ultimate Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame only adds more prestige to the most important marketing tool that the WWE has.
Not only did the Ultimate Warrior main event WrestleMania 6 at the Toronto Skydome in 1990, but he also dethroned Hulk Hogan who had been champion for most of the 1980’s going into 1990. People don’t truly understand how well booked the lead up to that match was, the incident at Saturday Night’s Main Event where The Ultimate Warrior accidentally clothes-lined Hogan and there was also Hogan getting the Warrior eliminated at the Royal Rumble prior to that. The buildup was done in such a way that neither guy was made out to look like the bad guy. The match ended up being much better than expected, and no one really left WrestleMania unhappy that night. It was supposed to be a passing of the torch, but it wasn’t as the Warrior’s run as champion ended up being a flop which can be blamed on the lack of strong opponents while Hogan was out filming some of his crap-fest movies.
What is amazing is how after that initial run on the WWF, he was always brought back whenever Vince McMahon needed a buy-rate or ratings, or just as in the case with WCW when they needed ratings, a buy-rate, or when Hogan needed to appease his own ego. In the end, we have to recognize the fact that The Ultimate Warrior gets props for never allowing himself to be a slave to the business. He was able to get in and out of wrestling on his own terms, and live off the money he made. You don’t see the Ultimate Warrior still trying to recapture his glory days at some Indy show in front of 100 fans or hogging up precious airtime on Spike TV like Hulk Hogan who won’t unglue that torch from his hand. Next time you watch “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior”; I want you to pay close attention to the end to see who owns the rights to the Warrior name! That will tell you who the true winner is. The Ultimate Warrior was one of the few folks in professional wrestling that understood that you have to be “in it for the pocketbook and not the scrapbook”. Make the most money that you can possibly make, and then get the hell out of dodge, so that you can spend time with your family and truly be able to enjoy life outside of the squared circle. Who cares if he didn’t have a passion for it? A lot of people have jobs that they don’t have a passion for. Why should wrestlers be any different?
What I learned from this whole situation is that there are no burned bridges that can’t eventually be repaired. 17 years is a very long time to hold a grudge, and I am glad that everything has been squashed between the two parties. Now is the time to make some big money together because Vince McMahon knows that nostalgia sells in today’s wrestling business. Imagine if Ultimate Warrior made an appearance on Monday Night Raw even to speak to the WWE fans. I am sure that plenty of people would tune in to see it. This will be another case in professional wrestling where the ends will justify the means. And it will be a chance for Jim Hellwig to finally get the ultimate recognition. (Pun intended) He may not have been a technician in the ring, but remember that professional wrestling was never about that. It’s all entertainment, and the best worker will always be the one who draws the most money while also doing the least amount of work.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @whosantcox, and I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, opinions, I respond to ALL of them! I promise you that! See you next time, wrestling fans!
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